Anthony Dellinger ’14 PhD had a delightfully fishy experience with UNCG.

He researched a sustainable replacement for bait fish while earning his doctorate at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, a venture of UNCG and NC A&T State. And thanks to the entrepreneurial focus of the school, and a partnership with Professor Christopher Kepley, that research has become a viable business.

Organobait was formulated to replace the use of wild fish stocks as the primary bait in commercial lobster and crab traps. Current bait fish consumption is unsustainable as demand increases from a growing body of industries.

“Our product promises to replace and preserve this entire segment with a synthetic and environmentally neutral alternative,” says Dellinger, now the president of Kepley Biosystems. The company will soon scale up production, he says, with massive field evaluation in Canada with American lobsters.

He praises JSNN’s unique nature, which emphasizes not only academics but also business aspects of the field including funding, business development and patent creation. “It offers students an extremely novel and diverse educational experience.”

Business and science aren’t that far apart for Dellinger. “In many ways starting a business can resemble the scientist’s bench and experimental lab book, an area riddled with mistakes, failures and questions.”

Scientists are creative, passionate people with, oftentimes, unconventional ideas.

“A scientific entrepreneur can take ideas that others deem impossible and transform them into enterprise with disruptive potential,” he says. “When your ‘unconventional’ idea is a replacement for rotting fish, most of the world thinks you’re crazy.”

But Kepley firmly believed in Anthony’s unusual proposal.

“UNCG’s and JSNN’s shared vision of graduating students with a first-class degree and allowing them to blossom into emerging executives in a company where their professors are major stakeholders is the most noteworthy advantage any school could bestow upon a young academic.”

See Anthony Dellinger explain what his innovation actually does, in a short video clip.

See full story – and many more great stories – in the most recent UNCG Magazine.


By Mary Leigh Howell, contributor
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Relations